The first Church’s Chicken location opened in 1952 in San Antonio, Texas, across from the Alamo. The Southern-style fried-chicken restaurant was founded by George Church as a to-go concept with walk-up service only. Church didn’t even add side dishes to the menu for another three years. By 1969, the company had incorporated and went public. A decade later, Church’s was acquired by Al Copeland, who founded Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, but in 1992, control of Church’s was assumed by America’s Favorite Chicken Company, what became AFC Enterprises Inc., after a bankruptcy.
AFC later split Popeye’s and Church’s into separate entities, and Church’s was later bought by private-equity firms, including the current owner Friedman Fleischer & Lowe, which acquired the company in 2009.
The menu at Church’s remains focused on fried chicken pieces and tenders, but also include smoked chicken, family meals and sides like jalapeno cheese bombers, fried okra, honey-butter biscuits and Texas sheet cake cups.
Church’s operates across the U.S. and in about 22 countries internationally, where it is known as Texas Chicken.
Key Data: Church’s Chicken
Segment: Quick Service
Restaurant segment: LSR chicken
Number of U.S. locations: 911
2020 Sales: $698.5 million
Source: Datassential Firefly 500
CEO: Joe Christina
Parent: Cajun Operating Co.